How to Introduce New Food to Your Autistic Child
Many children who have been diagnosed with autism tend to be picky eaters. Some are picky eaters because they may not like the touch of the food while others may not like its smell. Some may not like the taste of the new food while some just do not prefer to change their food routine.
Should your child be a picky eater, what you need to do is to slowly introduce the new food to him. This is one of the techniques that has worked well for other children. Put the new food near the child where he can see it and then check his reaction to the food. Does he seem okay with the new food’s presence or does he look uncomfortable? If he does not seem to be bothered by it, you can slowly put the food on his plate. Keep the food on his plate for only a few seconds and take it out if you feel that your child is not feeling comfortable with it.
If your child does not mind the new food on his plate, encourage him to experience the food by either touching the food or smelling the food. When he feels comfortable enough, you can also let him try to taste the food. Cut a small piece for him and start by encouraging him to bring the food to his lips. He can then touch the food with his tongue and eventually he can take a bite of the food.
If your child does not want to taste the new food, do not force him to do so. There is no sense in forcing him. Be patient and let him take his time. Forcing him will only cause him to reject the food more and will only be a cause for temper tantrums.
Do not forget to reward him for every small step he makes. Keep in mind that no step is ever too small to not be rewarded. While small material rewards such as stickers and pencils works well, always remember that non-material rewards such as a warm praise, a hug or a pat on the back will also have the same effect on him. In fact, at times, the non-material rewards may even help motivate him more.